Media · July 21, 2022

Foremost Group Celebrates Contracts with Namura Shipbuilding and Charterer NYK Group

Ships will Use Advanced Technologies and Meet New Environmental Standards

L to R front row: Ms. Angela Chao (Chair and CEO of Foremost Group), Mr. Tomonori Wada (President and CEO of Sumitomo Americas), Mr. Koichi Hamazaki (General Manager of Tramper Group of NYK), Dr. James Chao (Founder and Honorary Chairman of Foremost Group), Mr. Kensuke Namura (President of Namura Shipbuilding), and Ambassador Mikio Mori (Japanese Consul General, New York). Standing row are colleagues of Foremost, NYK, Namura Shipbuilding and Sumitomo.

New York, NY – July 21, 2022 – U.S.-based shipping company Foremost Group (“Foremost”) celebrated contracts with Namura Shipbuilding for two new Capesize bulk carriers and with NYK Group for two long-term charter contracts this week at the Harvard Club.

The event was attended by the Japanese Consul General to the United States Ambassador Mikio Mori, the President of Namura Shipbuilding Kensuke Namura, the General Manager of Tramper Group of NYK Koichi Hamazaki, the President and CEO of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas Group Tomonori Wada, Foremost Group’s Founder and Honorary Chairman Dr. James S. C. Chao, and Foremost Group’s Chair and CEO Angela Chao, as well as top executives from the four companies. Japan’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Koji Tomita, addressed the attendees via video.

Each ship, which will be delivered in 2024, will be approximately 181,500 metric tons deadweight carrying freight comprised of major dry bulk commodities such as iron ore and bauxite. As Charterer, NYK will determine cargo carried and ports called.

The ships will be among the first to comply with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) phase 3 requirements, making them among the most eco-friendly ships in the world. The ships will also have among the most favorable ratings from IMO’s operational energy efficiency measure, the Carbon Intensity Index (CII). Special design features include hull optimization, a MAN B&W electronically controlled engine, propeller optimization, rudder fin and rudder bulb, upgraded energysaving paint, and flow-straightening fins, among others. The vessels will also be upgraded to be able to run on biofuels, which can further reduce CO2 emissions.

Japan’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Koji Tomita, commented: “Foremost Group founder, Dr. James Chao, has been a visionary in incorporating greener, more environmentally friendly designs and practices. Building upon his vision, together with Namura Shipbuilding’s environmental technology, today we celebrate the agreement to build two large ships that will incorporate the most modern and eco-friendly technologies. These ships will be put into service with NYK, which is also distinguished by its high environmental goals.”

Mr. Kensuke Namura, President of Namura Shipbuilding, commented: “We are delighted and proud to sign a shipbuilding contract with the Foremost Group. With Foremost’s track record combined with the fact that these vessels have a long-time charter agreement with NYK, we are confident that this new partnership will lead the project to a successful conclusion. Let me emphasize again that we feel very grateful and honored to start a relationship with Foremost Group, one of the leading companies in the maritime industry.”

Mr. Koichi Hamazaki, General Manager of Tramper Group of NYK, commented: “We are very pleased to embark on this long-term charter contract for the new Capesize bulk carriers built by Namura Shipbuilding and owned by Foremost Group. NYK seeks reliable owners who deliver superior performance for the medium and long-term and we have immense trust and confidence in Foremost Group’s management and ships to provide performance and value. These new buildings signify a deepening and strengthening of the mutual cooperation between our two companies and we look forward to working with Foremost on this groundbreaking project.”

Dr. James Chao, Founder and Honorary Chairman of Foremost Group, commented: “We are here to celebrate the building of two new ships that will be in the forefront of environmental protection and will help to facilitate world trade and the global economy. Foremost has always emphasized building long-term mutually beneficial relationships. Today is the result of a decades-long relationship with NYK. Foremost has a long history of building ships in Japan and now we begin a new relationship with Namura Shipbuilding, a company with sterling credentials. At Foremost, we always believe that we are performing a valuable service for the world – to facilitate the shipment of needed goods to fuel a growing population and to improve the quality of life for everyone on earth. My colleagues at Foremost work very hard to ensure that we abide by our mission statement of honor, integrity, and performance every day.”

Ms. Angela Chao, Foremost Group Chair and CEO, commented: “We are pleased to sign these contracts with Namura Shipbuilding, which builds on our long track record of having a fleet of state-of-the-art dry bulk carriers built to our specifications. This partnership aligns with Foremost Group’s mission to remain a premier provider of ocean transportation services and a model of excellence for our industry, and we look forward to working with Namura Shipbuilding for many years to come.”

“Today also marks a deepening and strengthening of a longstanding relationship with NYK, one of the leading and largest shipping companies in the world. We have a number of ships chartered to NYK, but this new project marks a joint commitment to their new ‘Green Policy’ as these two ships will be built to environmental standards on carbon emissions at least two years in advance of requirements. This is a strong demonstration of our value alignment and mutual commitment to the environment and future generations.”


Read more on Marine Log about the newbuilding order and charter agreements as well as the environmentally friendly ships.

NEW YORK, NY – April 2, 2022 – Foremost Group Founder and Honorary Chairman Dr. James S. C. Chao was recently featured in LEADERS Magazine as a part of its series profiling Purpose driven leaders. In the profile, Dr. Chao discusses Foremost Group, including the Company’s history and culture, as well as the Chao family’s approach to philanthropy. Excerpts from the interview are below, with the full profile of Dr. Chao available online here.

On Foremost Group’s culture, Dr. Chao says: “We did not set out to create a corporate culture first, and then follow it. Rather, our culture evolved organically from the ground up. It was built around the spirit of Foremost and the values it practices every day: honesty, integrity and service. Foremost provides a service that is essential for the global economy: shipping the world’s major dry bulk commodities like wheat, grain, iron ore and other basic necessities around the world. From a larger point of view, it’s not just about us. If we do our jobs well, people can have the food they need to live and grow, and the basic materials they need to build economies, create jobs and generate prosperity for all. At its core, Foremost works for the public good.”

On Foremost Group’s industry leadership, Dr. Chao comments: “To become and remain a leader in such a demanding environment, Foremost Group is committed to providing consistent, exceptional service and performance. In addition, we are known for taking good care of our crews and, as a result, they are always there for us. We are also known for our ability to adapt quickly to unforeseen challenges and global market changes. Beyond these basics, there are some very important, fundamental differences between Foremost and other companies. First, and most importantly, is our emphasis on integrity – and I really mean that: it’s our most precious asset. Foremost would rather not earn a profit, or earn less profit, than lose its integrity. This is not altruism; it’s an important long-term advantage. Money can be earned any time, but a company cannot be profitable permanently or enjoy good relationships with its customers and earn repeat business unless it has integrity. At a time when so many companies and institutions are losing the public’s trust, the value of having a reputation for integrity cannot be overstated.”

On the Chao family’s approach to philanthropy, Dr. Chao says: “My family – and this includes our Foremost family – takes great joy in promoting philanthropy, especially with educational opportunities. This is only natural because of the key role education has played in my own life, in the life of my late wife, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, and in the lives of our six daughters. The goal of our philanthropy is to help cultivate the next generation of global leaders by giving talented young people access to a high-quality education that they could not otherwise afford.”

The full LEADERS Magazine issue for April, May & June 2022 is available here:

NEW YORK, NY – January 20, 2022 – Foremost Group Chair and CEO Angela Chao was recently featured in LEADERS Magazine as part of its coverage of distinguished Women Leaders. In the profile, Ms. Chao discusses Foremost Group’s history, operations and track record as a leading dry bulk shipping company. She also touches on the Company’s culture and values, and what she sees as the hallmarks of effective leadership. Key excerpts from the interview are below, with the full section regarding Ms. Chao available online here.

“I believe the keys to effective leadership are the same elements that underpin most successful business endeavors: subject matter expertise, attention to detail, clear articulation of goals and values, proper long-term planning, effective risk management, openness to innovation, and the cultivation and retention of good people. … My inspiration has always been my father’s leadership which is based on a clear set of values that emphasize service to others and contributing to society.”

“In addition, as a woman executive in a male-dominated industry, I’m something of an outsider which gives me a fairly unique perspective. I’m not afraid to think outside the box, or to look for talent outside traditional models of industry recruitment. Gender diversity has always been a priority. We are proud that approximately half of our onshore staff are women. In my experience, I have found that having more voices representing a diversity of backgrounds and opinions at the table delivers the best outcomes.”

The full LEADERS Magazine issue for January, February & March 2022 is available here:

NEW YORK, NY – January 5, 2022 – Foremost Group Chair and CEO Angela Chao was recently included by TradeWinds amongst a group of more than three dozen industry leaders asked to provide their perspective about efforts to protect the environment in 2022. Excerpts of Ms. Chao’s response are below, and the full response can be viewed on TradeWinds website HERE.

“The need for decarbonisation and the protection of the marine environment are always top of the agenda for Foremost Group. It is with these important goals in mind, and the firm belief that protecting the environment is both good business and our responsibility, that Foremost Group has long made the choice to operate some of the world’s largest and most eco-friendly bulkers.”

“No effort is too small when considering ship designs for future needs, technologies that can improve fuel efficiency or the use of alternative fuels — and each can make a difference.”

“Looking to 2022, we look forward to a year of continued collaboration, partnership and dialogue about how we can all do our part to protect this world that has given each of us so much.”

Read the full response online here:

NEW YORK, NY – December 16, 2021 – Foremost Group Chair and CEO Angela Chao was recently recognized by Marine Log as one of the Top Women in the Maritime industry for the year 2021. In addition to Ms. Chao, those also recognized include leaders from across the maritime industry, including, among others, the American Maritime Officers Union, American Bureau of Shipping, Crowley Maritime, Glostens, Ingram Barge Company, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Waterways Council Inc.

The section regarding Ms. Chao is available here and below:

Honoring Marine Log’s Top Women in Maritime 2021
Written by Heather Ervin
December 15, 2021

As the maritime industry continues to increase diversity and bring more women into its ranks, we wrap up 2021 for the second year in a row by bringing to you our list of Top Women in Maritime.

Our editorial team has carefully selected these 20 women of varied backgrounds, ages and locations with nominations given by those in the industry. We asked them to tell us about the successes they’re most proud of in their maritime career—whether it’s in shoreside management, onboard a vessel, or in another field. …

Angela Chao, Chairman and CEO of Foremost Group

Before taking the helm of Foremost Group, Chao worked in the mergers and acquisitions department of Smith Barney, now a part of Morgan Stanley. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard, where she graduated magna cum laude in three years and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. She then rejoined Foremost Group, first concentrating on the fundamentals of ship operations and ship management while overseeing the implementation of Foremost’s Safety Management System to comply with the International Safety Management Code and then in later years, the fleet’s Vessel Security Plans in compliance with the IMO’s International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. In 2019, she was named chair and CEO of Foremost Group.

Chao serves on numerous public and nonprofit boards. Previously, she served on the boards of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Lincoln Center Global’s China Advisory Council, Museum of Modern Art PS1, the China State Shipbuilding Corporation, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and the Executive Committee of the Baltic International Maritime Council (BIMCO).

ML: What successes are you most proud of in terms of your maritime career?

AC: I am very proud of the fact that Foremost Group is internationally recognized for its modern, eco-friendly fleet and for our exceptional service, high integrity, and superior performance.

I am also extremely proud that gender diversity has always been, and will always be, a priority at Foremost. Approximately half of our onshore staff are women, and from that diversity of backgrounds, opinions and perspectives, we are able to deliver the best outcomes for our partners.

Dating back to my first ship visits as a young girl with my parents, Dr. James Chao and Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, I always knew I wanted to work at Foremost. It is deeply humbling and most gratifying to be able to serve as the second generation carrying on my parents’ legacy and life values. …


The full Marine Log article “Honoring Marine Log’s Top Women in Maritime 2021” is available here:

In this interview, Angela Chao talks about her experience becoming the CEO of Foremost Group, how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global shipping industry, and her philanthropic efforts.

Angela Chao is the chairman and CEO of Foremost Group, a New York–based shipping company with worldwide operations. Founded in 1964 by her father, Dr. James S. C. Chao, and his late wife, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, the company today is a global leader in the dry bulk shipping industry and has earned a worldwide reputation for its commitment to exceptional service and performance while always holding itself to the highest ethical standards.

Before joining Foremost Group in 1996, Chao worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department of Smith Barney, now Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. A frequent speaker at conferences around the world, Chao also serves on a number of public and nonprofit boards.

Chao will speak at SupChina’s Women’s Conference 2021, which is slated to take place virtually on May 12 and 13. Get your tickets here before they sell out!

Prior to the event, we sat down with Chao to talk about her experience becoming the CEO of Foremost Group, how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global shipping industry, and her philanthropic efforts.

The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

SupChina: Tell us about Foremost Group. What is its focus and vision? How have you integrated your values and mission into the company structure?

Angela Chao: Foremost Group is an American company engaged in international shipping. We are a global leader in dry bulk shipping, which means we transport major dry bulk commodities like wheat, iron ore, and grains. Through the transport of goods, we bring materials from where they are produced to where they are needed, and in so doing, build and feed the world!

The company was started in New York in 1964, and was founded by my father, Dr. James S. C. Chao. But my mother, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, was his full partner, and so even though she did not go into the office like he did, he always raised us to know that she was his full and equal partner. They were a team.

My father studied navigation and was one of the youngest oceangoing captains ever. He is a pioneer in incorporating eco-friendly designs into the Foremost fleet. We now have one of the most modern and environmentally friendly fleets in the world. Our motto is “Honor. Integrity. Performance.” And I am honored to carry on the tradition of what my parents started in Foremost.

I am lucky to have had parents who not only had strong values, but also truly lived deeply values-laden lives. They did not just talk the talk, but they really walked the walk. They were such magnificent examples of leading thoughtful, positive lives where you made a difference where and when you could, and always tried to help people along the way. They were not always in a position to be financially helpful — they were immigrants to America with very little monetarily, and so they always remembered fondly and treasured the kindness that so many people bestowed upon them. And they always made sure to be part of a virtuous cycle to bring more goodness into the world. And they did. They really did.

SupChina: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the international shipping and transportation industry? How did Foremost Group respond to the disruptions and challenges?

Chao: As with all industries and walks of life, the pandemic has impacted us all in profound ways. When COVID-19 first hit, demand for goods and the movement of goods was significantly curtailed with no end in sight. What we were most concerned about was the safety of our employees worldwide and our seafarers. Creating safe work environments, creating robust business continuity plans so we could work effectively from home, etc. were all top of mind.  We had a difficult time getting seafarers repatriated in a timely manner.

SupChina: What sparked your interest in shipping? Tell us something that most people don’t know about the industry.

Chao: One of the things I love most about shipping is that we build bridges around the world. We build bridges over oceans, between nations, and among peoples. Not very many people know this, but over 90% of world trade is seaborne! Without shipping, our lives would grind to a halt.

Shipping is also the first truly international industry, since we crossed oceans to do it! Shipping is the first industry to have had international law, because we were inherently cross-border. So our industry is wonderfully rich in its history and traditions, like one’s word is one’s bond and other such traditions that our fast-paced world could use more of!

SupChina: Did you always know you wanted to be a CEO? What challenges have you faced as a woman in your industry? How have you addressed them?

Chao: I always wanted to make my parents proud. I always wanted to make a positive difference. And as many of your readers and members know well, yes, we faced challenges as women. But I tried to focus on the positives and work from areas of strength or positivity and optimism. I have found that to be much more productive and it generates much more energy and creativity!

SupChina: Tell us about a person who has inspired or mentored you. What key lesson did you learn from them?

Chao: Like my parents, I have many people to thank. Many people do not even know the lessons they have taught me — because I learn so much from people’s subtle actions and anonymous kindnesses. But the people who have most inspired and mentored me are, without question, my parents. They spent a lot of time on me! And with their patience and love, their lives and examples still inform me on how I want to live and how I want to carry myself every day.

SupChina: Outside your business, you serve on the boards of many organizations and are deeply involved in philanthropy. What motivates you to keep doing charity? What’s your mission behind all this work?

Chao: I love my work. I am very lucky that way, but much of why I love it is because I love carrying on my parents’ legacy and values. My parents also cultivated in us a love of learning and a curiosity about all things. So as I learn more, I am curious to learn ever more, and charities are a way of learning and a way of trying to make a positive difference in the world.

I support causes that I love, that have brought me joy, and that I hope will win the hearts and minds of others. While my philanthropy has always had an emphasis on supporting Asian-Americans/Asian issues/causes and women, after the horrific attack on March 16 in Atlanta, it gave me renewed vigor to concentrate my philanthropic giving on AAPI causes. I have asked many organizations with which I have been involved for many years what they are doing for AAPI — how we are dedicating dollars so that the community receives more of that support as well as to highlight the many multifaceted contributions we make to the fabric of our society and communities.

I have found that when we ask the question, it makes the organization think of AAPI causes proactively in a way they have not hitherto. And so it is incumbent upon us to help our organizations bring attention to AAPI and women’s causes — and really SEE them. Then, of course, we must get them to act.

A new initiative I am excited about is that I will be co-chairing the Advisory Council of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), which is a new 501(c)(3) founded to respond to the rise in anti-Asian hate and violence. Our mission is to “serve the AAPI community in the pursuit of belonging and prosperity, free from discrimination, slander, and violence.” I hope your audience will all be involved and join!


Growing up in a family of seven women, Angela Chao and her five older sisters rarely considered being female a limiting factor for success.

“My parents raised us to be self-sufficient and productive members of society. Our gender was never an issue,” Chao told Fairplay. “We just took it for granted that we would get an education, work hard in school, and then work hard afterwards to succeed.”

That philosophy paid off. After graduating with an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2001, Chao rose through the ranks of Foremost Group, a New York-based, privately held shipping company started by her father, Dr. James S.C. Chao, and mother, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, in 1964.

In 2018, she was named chairman and chief executive officer of the company, overseeing the management and operations of a dry bulk fleet of five million dwt.

Chao realises, of course, that not everyone receives the kind of support she and her sisters did growing up. “[That] is why I like to speak publicly about the role of women in business. I do think there’s a gender gap that’s represented not only in shipping but in business as whole, as well as a pay gap that goes along with that. It needs to be talked about more.”

Chao has considered shipping a “big, exciting world” for as long as she can remember, with a dose of encouragement from her father. “He used to let me go onboard ships when I was young, complete with a mini hard hat,” she said. “I would check out everything – the bridge, the cargo holds, the ballast tanks. At home, I also loved answering the telephone, because I knew the person on the other end could be anywhere in the world. I found it all very glamorous and fascinating.”

Chao remembers that while her father was technically the head of his company, he always considered her mother not just his wife but an equal partner in the business. “I grew up thinking that’s the way the world was – that women and men should be on equal footing,” she said.

That philosophy found its way into Chao’s adult life as Foremost Group’s onshore workforce is 50% women. “It wasn’t really a conscious decision,” she admitted, “because we have always just been focused on picking the best and brightest.”

Chao considers new and developing regulations to be one of the biggest challenges for the industry, and has the experience to navigate through them. Earlier in her career at Foremost Group she oversaw the implementation of the company’s safety management system to comply with the International Safety Management Code, as well as the fleet’s vessel security plans to comply with the International Maritime Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.

Regulatory compliance is made easier when the average age of your fleet – as is the case with Foremost Group – is five years or less. “We’ve always maintained a young fleet and invested in new technologies,” she said.

While she believes that the global sulphur cap deadline in 2020 and carbon emissions reduction to be “extremely important” for shipping, she also noted that meeting these aggressive targets will require forward thinking on the part of all players, not just shipowners.

“We’re very much in favour of reducing our footprint, but one of the questions [regarding the sulphur cap limit] is, will there be enough low sulphur fuel available? We want to do our part, but we’re also going to need the co-operation of the oil majors.”

Speaking on issues that affect shipping comes easy for Chao, but she wants to use her high-profile position to motivate more women to rise in the industry as well.

“I’d like to think I’m making a difference in my own small way, and I hope I can inspire women to strive higher in any business by working hard and having a positive outlook,” she said. “As my mother always liked to say, ‘Don’t complain, prove them wrong’.”

To read the story online, visit:

To say Angela Chao grew up with shipping is an understatement.

Her father, James Chao, built New York shipowner Foremost Group from the ground up as he and wife Ruth Mulan Chu Chao raised six daughters.

When she was just nine, Angela began joining her father on ship visits, exploring the vessels from the inside out, including ballast tanks and cargo holds.

After taking her first job at Foremost in 1996 and rising through the ranks, she has just been named chief executive and chairman as her father enters retirement, although he will stay involved as honorary chairman and company founder.

But perhaps more importantly than exposing their daughters to the shipping industry, James and Ruth taught their daughters to overcome adversity with a positive attitude. …

To read the full story by Eric Martin published in Tradewinds, visit:

Founder of Foremost Group and recipient of the Lloyd’s List Americas Lifetime Achievement Award explains his philosophy of education, life-time training and a commitment to always being the best

By Lambros Papaeconomou

IT WAS Dr James S.C. Chao who built Foremost Group as one of the most respected dry cargo shipping companies in the world, and who taught his youngest daughter Angela Chao the importance of striving to be the best.

Dr Chao still serves as honorary chairman, having removed himself from the company’s day-to-day operations.

Ms Chao, a Harvard-educated former investment banker, is now steering the helm of Foremost as its chairman and chief executive.

The company’s strategy is not to get big fast, but to organically grow in a “step function fashion”, and a virtuous cycle of knowing and serving all their key constituents.

Investing in people

According to Dr Chao, it all starts with how you treat, train and retain your crew on board.

“We are a shipping company and we value our [relationship with] crew members as very important. Every time a ship comes into a port in the Western Hemisphere, we send staff from our New York ofice to visit the ship.”

“Not only to just say hello. We stay there for one or two nights. We eat with them, live with them, work with them, talk with them, sing with them, plan our future with them.

“Our crew sees working for Foremost as their pride. They have the total privilege and freedom to join others, but once they come here they don’t want to leave.”

Ms Chao recalls that when Foremost celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, her father put in place a special recognition programme for all their crew members and staff that had been with the company for 10, 15 and 20 years.

“We had almost 200 people.”

Tailor-made ships

The second key constituent is the ships themselves. Foremost does not buy secondhand ships, choosing instead to order newbuilding vessels at dedicated shipyards in Japan and China. They are built according to upgraded specifications based on Foremost’s standards.

“Ordering newbuildings is not the cheapest way to go,” says Ms Chao.

“But for us, it is consistent with our corporate philosophy. We have a very small circle of first class charterers (the third key constituent) that we deal with, companies like MOL and Bunge. For us it is important that we maintain a consistent product and a very high level of service. Our charterers do not want to worry about offhire or underperformance.”

The company’s ships are tailor-made and they are also young since the company strives to keep the fleet modern. Foremost has operated a fleet with an average age of five years or less for the past 30 years.

Dr Chao proudly declares that when Foremost sells a ship, prospective buyers will waive the inspection and offer to buy the ship “as is where is”.

Bankers on board

The last but equally important constituent in the value chain is of course the bankers — although getting Financing for vessels that are typically tailor-made to charterers’ requirements is not difficult.

“When we build a ship we already have the business. Because of this we don’t need bank help. The bank will call us and say when you order a new ship don’t forget us,” says Dr Chao.

“They do this because they know we have a reliable business, so they want to join. Money-wise we don’t have to worry.”

Notwithstanding the financial prowess of Foremost Group, we are tempted to ask whether public companies with ambitions to grow bigger can challenge the status quo of privately-owned, family businesses in the industry.

“Although we feel very optimistic about the future, it is dangerous that there is so much public money, private money, hedge fund money coming in, because the numbers get so big,” says Ms Chao.

“It’s no longer companies ordering one or two ships at a time. Now shipyards are doing 10-ship orders and often to players that aren’t necessarily very prudent, and they are not doing in-house management.

“This is just a financial transaction for them, they are asset players and we find that very dangerous because as an industry we have such an incredible responsibility. Some 90% of world trade is carried by ships. We provide a very important service to the world and we always need to remember that we are a service industry. We are not here to just be financial asset players.”

Entrepreneurial spirit

Ms Chao confesses that she wanted to be a shipping entrepreneur ever since her father taught her the word “entrepreneur”. But she wants to make clear that that was her choice.

“I was the last of six daughters and my parents were very progressive and open-minded to encourage each one of us to find our own talents, to find our own interests, and all they told us is to be self-sufficient, not expect anything from them. Our gift and biggest and greatest inheritance from them was our education.”

Dr Chao and his late wife Ruth Mu-Lan Chu Chao always believed in the power of education.

He likes to say: “Regardless of how difficult life was, we never, ever, forgot the importance of education.”

It was the nautical education and training that allowed Dr Chao to become one of the youngest master mariners at the age of 29.

Having seen his six daughters graduating from prestigious universities and launching independent careers, Dr Chao spends much of his time on his substantial charitable work that is focused on helping higher education students in the United States and Asia.

Dr Chao will receive the 2018 Lloyd’s List Americas Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday March 23, 2018 in Houston.


Read the article online here:

Dinner honors Foremost Group’s Dr. James S.C. Chao and Angela Chao, and Turner Construction’s Joseph Byrne ‘89

$800,000 raised for scholarships to support next generation of maritime leaders

THROGGS NECK, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SUNY Maritime College held its 15th annual Admiral’s Scholarship Dinner, which honors industry executives and raises funds to help the next generation of maritime leaders, on Tuesday, May 1. This year’s dinner honored leaders from Foremost Group, an internationally recognized shipping company, and Turner Construction Group, an international construction services company, and raised a record $800,000 for scholarships.

The three dinner honorees were Dr. James S.C. Chao, founder and honorary chairman of Foremost Group, and his daughter, Angela Chao, current chairman and CEO of Foremost Group, the first father-daughter team to be recognized with this honor, and Joseph Byrne ’89, vice president and senior operations manager of Turner Construction. Foremost Group and Turner Construction, both headquartered in the United States, were also recognized at the dinner.

The dinner was attended by more than 650 SUNY Maritime College alumni and friends, with Maritime Administration Administrator Rear Adm. Mark Buzby joining as a distinguished guest.

“We were deeply grateful to have such a distinguished group of honorees, guests and alumni at this year’s event,” said Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, president of Maritime College. “Their support helps demonstrate the vital and deep connections between the college, its faculty and students, and the industry that we serve. Thanks to leaders of industry such as those in the room tonight, our students make a meaningful mark on their chosen fields. At the same time, leaders of the maritime industry get to meet the industry’s future leaders – our students.”

Dr. James S.C. Chao – Founder and Honorary Chairman, Foremost Group
An American of Chinese descent, Dr. James S.C. Chao founded Foremost Group in New York in 1964, and today it is one of the most respected global shipping companies. Foremost has one of the youngest and most environmentally friendly shipping fleets in the world. It is an industry leader recognized for its superior management and performance. Dr. Chao has received numerous awards for his professional accomplishments and philanthropy. For his lifetime contributions, Dr. Chao was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame at the United Nations. Dr. Chao and his late wife Ruth Mulan Chu Chao have dedicated their lives to promoting education and philanthropy. Thousands of students have been awarded scholarships through their generosity. The Chao Foundation’s Mulan Educational Scholarship Fund helps students from the National Taiwan Ocean University pursue graduate degrees at SUNY Maritime College.

Dr. Chao commented, “It has long been my belief that acting with honor, integrity, and professionalism are critical to success and the foundation of any meaningful relationship – whether business or personal. I am proud that Foremost Group has so deeply embodied these principles in our work, which enabled our continued leadership in the global shipping industry. Like the lessons I learned at a young age, SUNY Maritime College plays a vital role in educating the next generation of maritime leaders. It is a true honor to receive this recognition and on behalf of my family, I thank you all for your dedication to this vital industry and look forward to continued partnership in the years ahead.”

Angela Chao – Chairman and CEO, Foremost Group
Before succeeding her father as chairman and CEO of Foremost Group, Ms. Chao was vice president of Foremost Group, concentrating on ship operations and ship management, and then promoted to senior vice president of the company, adding chartering, and sale and purchase to her responsibilities. Prior to that, she was assistant vice president where she implemented Foremost’s Safety Management System to comply with the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, a new regulation mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which came into effect for large bulk carriers in 1997, whose objective was to ensure safety, to prevent human injury or loss of life, and to avoid damage to the environment and property that was a result of various marine accidents. She has since also implemented the fleet’s Vessel Security Plans in compliance with the IMO’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and ports, developed in response to the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

As chairman and CEO of Foremost Group, Ms. Chao is one of just a handful of female executives in the maritime industry. Prior to joining Foremost Group in 1996, Ms. Chao worked in the mergers and acquisitions department of Smith Barney, now Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

Among many industry activities, Ms. Chao serves on the Board of the American Bureau of Shipping Council and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s International Maritime Business Department Advisory Board.

Ms. Chao earned an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School after receiving her undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard College, where she graduated magna cum laude in three years. Born in the United States, Ms. Chao also speaks Mandarin and lives in New York City.

Ms. Chao commented, “This recognition means the world to my family and me. Since founding Foremost Group in 1964 with my mother, the late Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, my father has been an outstanding leader in the shipping industry. He has taught us all the value of hard work and dedication and that doing what is right by our customers and the environment is always what’s right for Foremost Group. The SUNY Maritime community is well known for its excellence in our industry and we are proud to accept this honor as we work with you to help the next generation prepare to lead the maritime industry forward.”

Joseph Byrne – Vice President and Senior Operations Manager, Turner Construction
During his career at Turner, Joseph Byrne ‘89 has worked on construction projects for Madison Square Garden, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hearst Tower and Yankee Stadium. A veteran, he leads Turner Construction’s Veteran GiveBack Network and related volunteer programs at the Bronx VA Medical Center. An active supporter of his alma mater, Byrne has recruited students for full-time and internship positions at Turner for years. Turner Construction employs more than 40 Maritime College graduates.

Joseph Byrne commented, “Turner builds these huge facilities, and these buildings and hospitals are ships that don’t move. These students excel because they have the hands-on experience, Maritime’s leadership training, and the engineering programs. We give to the school and that helps the admiral and the college to get the best and the brightest. Everyone in this industry wants to get these students into our companies.”


Combining classroom and lab learning with summer sea terms aboard the college training ship and industry internships, SUNY Maritime College prepares its 1,800 students to be leaders in the shipping, transportation and power generation industries, as well as in government, military and business. The 55-acre campus is on a peninsula between the Long Island Sound and East River, 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan. Find out more at


Foremost Group is an American shipping company with offices in the United States and Asia. Founded in New York in 1964 by Dr. James S.C. Chao and his late wife, Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, the company today is a global leader in the dry bulk shipping industry and has earned a worldwide reputation for its commitment to exceptional service and performance and the highest ethical standards. Learn more:


Turner is a North America-based, international construction services company and is a leading builder in diverse market segments. The company has earned recognition for undertaking large, complex projects, fostering innovation, embracing emerging technologies, and making a difference for their clients, employees and community.

With a staff of 8,000 employees, the company completes more than $15 billion of construction on 1,500 projects each year. Turner offers clients the accessibility and support of a local firm with the stability and resources of a multi-national organization. Learn more:

Source: SUNY Maritime College

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